King County executive appoints manager for unincorporated areas

April 4, 2012

NEW — 8 p.m. April 4, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed a top adviser Wednesday to lead the outreach effort from county government to residents in rural and unincorporated areas.

The executive named Alan Painter — Constantine’s former adviser on human services, health and housing policy — as the manager of the community service areas program — designated areas to coordinate on issues, such as crime prevention or potential development.

The proposal is almost certain to reshape the relationship between county leaders and the Four Creeks Unincorporated Area Council, a liaison for unincorporated area residents near Issaquah to the county government based in Seattle. Leaders in the Four Creeks Unincorporated Area expressed reservations about the proposal last year.

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King County hosts workshop for unincorporated-area residents

November 22, 2011

King County is hosting workshops throughout the region to collect citizens’ comments about creating community service area boundaries.

The workshop includes a public open house from 6:30-7 p.m. followed by a discussion from 7-8 p.m. The meeting for Issaquah-area residents is Nov. 30 at Hobart Community Church, 27524 S.E. 200th St., Maple Valley.

In a July decision, leaders changed how county government and unincorporated-area residents interact.

The updated framework calls for a single point of contact between residents in each of the community service areas and county government. Unlike the earlier arrangement, the community service areas model is designed to encompass communities not represented by a local unincorporated area council, such as Klahanie and the Snoqualmie Valley.

The proposal raised concerns among the unincorporated area councils — the established liaisons between county government in Seattle and unincorporated-area residents.

Issaquah meeting to focus on King County outreach

August 16, 2011

The way King County leaders and residents interact is due to change soon.

In a decision last month, leaders changed how county government and unincorporated-area residents interact. Now, Countywide Community Forums of King County — a public-engagement program overseen by the county auditor — is asking citizens for feedback about the updated outreach effort. The effort includes a forum at the Issaquah Library and a survey for residents to complete online.

The outreach model adopted by the County Council establishes eight to 12 community service areas to cover all rural and unincorporated areas in sprawling King County, not just the communities included in the six existing unincorporated area councils.

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Hundreds attend local National Night Out events

August 9, 2011

Local residents got the opportunity last week to meet face-to-face with their local law enforcement officers during National Night Out Against Crime events.

There were two local National Night Out celebrations Aug. 2 — one held by the Issaquah Police Department on the steps of Issaquah City Hall and the other held by the King County Sheriff’s Office at Maple Hills Community Park.

A King County sheriff’s deputy at Issaquah’s National Night Out explains to a girl and her mother how an inflatable water rescue craft is used. By Quinn Eddy

“To give you an idea of how many people are here, we bought 700 hotdogs and we’re going to use all of them,” said Sgt. Scott Trial, with the Issaquah Police Department.

Issaquah’s Night Out celebration featured roughly 35 information booths, some by private vendors and regarding topics ranging from home alarm systems to emergency preparedness. To aid residents in the fight against identity theft, free document shredding was offered to destroy sensitive documents.

On the lawn behind Issaquah’s City Hall, eventgoers got the opportunity to meet Savute, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Karelian bear dog. Savute deals primarily with bears and cougars. (His job is to chase the animals into trees making for an easier shot with a tranquilizer gun.)

“Last week, he treed a bear in North Bend trying to get someone’s French doors open,” said Jason Capelli, game warden for the department of fish and wildlife.

The Issaquah event featured prizes, raffles and a live DJ. The Maple Hills event had informational safety demonstrations. At both events, grilled hotdogs were offered free to those in attendance.

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Issaquah forum to focus on King County outreach

August 4, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 4, 2011

Countywide Community Forums of King County is planning a forum at the Issaquah Library to discuss the county’s outreach plan for unincorporated area residents.

Residents in the rural, suburban and urban unincorporated areas can weigh in at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at the library, 10 W. Sunset Way. Participants should RSVP to the forum.

The model adopted by the King County Council last month establishes eight to 12 community service areas to cover all unincorporated areas, not just the communities included in the unincorporated area councils.

The framework affects the Four Creeks Unincorporated Area Council, a liaison for unincorporated area residents near Issaquah to the county government based in Seattle.

The framework calls for a single point of contact to hold meetings, develop work programs, and provide regular opportunities for homeowner associations, community development groups and unincorporated area councils to meet county officials.

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Meet local police during National Night Out

July 26, 2011

Local residents have two events to choose from to mark National Night Out Against Crime on Aug. 2.

The Issaquah Police Department will host the city’s annual happening on the steps of Issaquah City Hall.

Issaquah Police Sgt. Scott Trial said city officers used to visit neighborhood Night Out events, such as block parties and so on, but more recently began putting together a more unified event.

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King County proposes changes to outreach

June 7, 2011

Plan calls for dividing unincorporated communities into service areas

King County intends to overhaul outreach from county leaders to residents in rural and unincorporated areas, including more than 16,000 people near Issaquah.

The proposal could reshape the relationship between county leaders and the Four Creeks Unincorporated Area Council, a liaison for unincorporated area residents near Issaquah to the county government based in Seattle.

Similar groups exist in unincorporated areas across King County, from Vashon Island to urban Highline between Burien and Seattle.

The unincorporated area councils do not represent all rural and unincorporated residents, however, prompting county leaders to consider other options for outreach.

So, County Executive Dow Constantine offered a proposal to divide unincorporated communities into so-called community service areas. The plan calls for assigning county staffers and residents in a designated area to coordinate on issues, such as crime prevention or concerns about development.

Unlike the existing arrangement, Constantine proposed for the community service areas to include communities not represented by a local council, such as Klahanie and the Snoqualmie Valley.

The proposal keeps the unincorporated area councils intact, but does not guarantee future funding for the organizations. Each council used to receive $10,000 per year in county funding.

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Executive proposes reform for outreach to unincorporated areas

April 19, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. April 19, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine has proposed reforming the system county government uses to engage residents in unincorporated areas.

In a proposal released Monday, Constantine called for all unincorporated area residents to have a single point of contact for county services. In addition, the executive proposed for teams of existing county staffers to coordinate outreach to community groups.

“All residents should be able to have meaningful involvement in the decisions that impact their communities, and that’s just as true for those who live in unincorporated areas as those in cities,” he said in a statement. “This proposal retains the value and expertise of the existing unincorporated area councils while expanding our outreach to all unincorporated area residents.”

The councils also act as liaisons for unincorporated area residents to the county government based in Seattle. The county is home to 1.9 million people, including 284,000 residents in unincorporated areas.

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District dips into funds to keep resource officer

January 25, 2011

Rural storefronts remain open, but deputies assigned elsewhere

Issaquah School District leaders dipped into a budget reserve to keep the resource officer at Liberty High School, after cuts to the King County Sheriff’s Office eliminated the program.

King County Council members eliminated the resource officers assigned to Liberty and other schools in unincorporated areas in order to patch a $60 million budget hole late last year. The district kicked in $40,000 from a budget reserve in order to keep Deputy Dave Montalvo at the school through the end of the school year.

The austere county budget for 2011 also called for the police storefront in a rural area near Issaquah to close, but the facility remains open.

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King County Council appoints citizens to redraw districts

January 25, 2011

King County Council members appointed a team of community leaders last week to update the map for representation in county government.

The council appointed four members Jan. 18 to the King County Districting Committee, the citizen committee responsible for redrawing council districts based on 2010 Census data. The county is carved into nine districts, each represented by a single council member.

“Redistricting is a challenging, time-consuming process that is vital to ensuring our residents are fairly represented,” Councilman Reagan Dunn said in a statement. “We are grateful that these four highly-qualified community members are willing to provide their service to King County.”

Dunn represents District 9 on the nine-member council. The district encompasses the rural area near Issaquah, plus Newcastle, Maple Valley and areas inside Bellevue and Renton.

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